On faith: Lenten thoughts
Rev. Jim Joseph
Pastor- Living Waters Fellowship, Two Harbors
With the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, the church around the world entered into season where we walk with the Lord Jesus Christ to His death on the cross. To Christians, Christ’s death and subsequent resurrection from the dead three days later form the core of our belief and our hope of eternal life. It is through His sufferings and substitutionary death that He fully paid the price for our sins and deliberate rebellion against God, the Father and His just commandments. The proof of this is His bodily resurrection from the dead.
One of the Greek words for salvation is a fun little word that packs a whole lot of truth. In part the word means to save, keep from harm, heal, make whole, deliver, preserve, rescue, and to bring safely through. Who would have thought such a small word could hold so much meaning?
Many Christians fail to realize both the price that was paid and what actually is a part of the salvation Christ purchased. Jesus was tortured both prior to being crucified and while He hung on the cross. The Persians invented crucifixion but it was the Romans who perfected it. To die on a cross meant hours of purposed agony and intense pain. We have sanitized it to make it palatable to our modern sensibilities. Ultimately, Jesus’ heart ruptured and He died. He finished the work He had come to do.
Every person’s greatest need, whether they realize it or not, is for the forgiveness of sins so that they may inherit eternal life. We cannot work our way into heaven and we do not deserve it. Jesus Christ paid our sin debt so that “whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Christ’s saving work could have stopped there but God had so much more for us.
Through Jesus, we can experience physical healing; deliverance from addictions to things like alcohol, drugs and pornography; mental wholeness and restoration.
Our past can be redeemed. We no longer have to be held hostage by circumstances and people who have hurt us so badly. We can be truly free because of Christ’s finished work!
The Psalmist declares, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. “ (Psalm 23:4) Every day I can trust the He is with me, encouraging and protecting me, and bringing me safely through the trials and tests of life.
There is an old chorus that reads in part, “He is all I need, He is all I need, Jesus is all I need.” This Lent, may we all remember that truth as we walk with Him through His sufferings and trials. And as we celebrate with Him the joy of His resurrection.